Things are looking rosey this August, mainly because we’re already on the rosé…*hic* Whether you’re looking for a bottle to drink with friends, you’re toasting a milestone or you just need to grab a bottle and sit on the terrace after work to take the edge off, you’ll want to make it a rosé. And with so many to choose from, we put together a list of some of the wines we’ll be opening this month, from the merest blush to pillarbox red hues, here they are…
It’s a tough gig for a wine brand to emerge, without going all Jacob Creek and naff. AIX has managed to walk the tightrope, being a fashionable option, affordable and a great drink into the bargain.
Owned and run by the Kurver family, who moved to Provence from Holland to live everyone’s favourite daydream and take over a vineyard, Maison Saint AIX has quickly become the go-to for smart restaurants and hotels. Often seen in magnum form, clutched by Insta-famouses, the wine comes to your social feed from high up in the rolling Provence hills, north-east of Aix-en-Provence, with cool nights and hot days interspersed with regular Mistral winds providing perfect conditions for growing the grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes that go into AIX rosé.
Cézanne and Mont Aurelien both painted in the fields around the Provençal village of Pourcieux, but you can put your easels away because the only art form we’re interested in is wine from Château des Ferrages. Creating wines since only 1980, the producer makes a quintessential summery Provence rosé, elegant and bright with a subtle pale rose petal hue. With fresh, fruity, aromas of strawberry, grapefruit, citrus and peach, this is the taste of summer. Call in at Partridges on Sloane Square for a bottle on your way home.
Produced by Roselyne Gavoty and served at some of London’s smartest restaurants (Michel Roux at Roux at Parliament Square for one), the delicate pink rosé emits a strawberryish nose. Wine growing on the estate goes back to Roman times, but the Gavoty family have only been here since 1806. Roselyne and her husband Hervé have been in charge since 2001 and while commercialisation has been led to greater consistency and quality, the wine remains delicious. An alternative would be the strawberry and redcurrant vibes from their Cuvee Clarendon Rose, another Handbook favourite.
Unsurprisingly Harrods know how to celebrate summer, and their Rosé Finé Champagne is perfect for getting the party started. Chardonnay and pinot noir combine to create a great Champagne, with the pinot flavour winning out to create a rich and deep palate. Billed as a perfect accompaniment to shellfish or pork, it’s maybe not the ideal wine to serve at a bar mitzvah, but otherwise perfect for every scenario; Harrods’ rosé Champagne will be the first thing you pop in the hamper before heading out for a summer’s barbecue.
La Bollina Tinetta Rose 2018
Don’t judge a book by the cover is a maxim we’ve all ignored time and again, and usually because the cover tells us a lot of what we need to know about the book. The publisher has spent a fortune on the artwork for that book, the author has given their approval, in fact you should absolutely judge a book by its cover. And when it comes to wine, this Italian wine has a label so pretty that you’ll be forgiven for buying a bottle or a case based on the label. And so you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that the wine’s great itself too. The nose of truffle, cherry, plum, leather and vanilla combine to create a crisp and dry rosé.
The fact that people have cottoned onto recently, is that British growers can compete with the Champagne grand marques, if not on their own terms then very nearly. Nyetimber has emerged as a serious contender, with some splendid English sparkling wines (otherwise known by the somewhat unsatisfactory marketing term ‘British Fizz’). But there’s never anything unsatisfactory about Nyetimber, and their rosé remains a firm favourite.
Created with a combination of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, the grapes travel the short distance from West Sussex and Hampshire, giving the wine a nose of fresh red fruits, spice, anise and lavender. And it’s delicious; this is literally what English summer tastes like!
Indulge me while I rave about one of my favourite wineries for a little while. London Cru is an ‘urban winery’, which means that the wines are made here, in London. The Roberson Winery lives in an old Victorian warehouse in Fulham. All the grapes come from English growers, carefully sourced from vineyards with Rosaville Rd being made up of Surrey Pinot Noir. The pink grapefruit and fresh strawberry aromas make this an ideal wine to enjoy one its own or a light summery dish.
The English sparkling wine thing really is taking off. And at the forefront brands like Digby are taking the battle to Champagne, let’s hope it Brexit-proofs our bubbles. But whether you’re toasting Boris, or drinking to plans to thwart him this August, you should be doing it using glasses charged with Digby Fine English Leander Pink rosé. The sparkling rose takes its name from the Leander Club, famous once a year to most of us through Henley Royal Regatta, and all year round for the very select few of the most prestigious of Britain’s rowers who are asked to be members. Their colour is pink, and their hippo emblem takes pride of place on the bottle with every sale putting money toward supporting British rowing via the Leander Academy. And you could do far worse than pack a chilled bottle as you head out for an afternoon punting, enjoying the pinot noir and red berry aromas as you gently float down the river.
As you’d probably expect from a rioja rosé, the strikingly reddish hue to the Ortega Ezquerro Rosado belies a dry and fruity wine. Giving off a strawberry and redcurrant nose, it’s the ideal barbecue wine, able to compete with heavier foods while still making a fine drinking-on-its-own bottle. A Spanish wine to celebrate August with!
Partidges, the upmarket grocery store just off Sloane Square, is a worthwhile destination in itself, with its wonderful selection of posh brands and delicacies. But if you’re there then do grab a bottle of their grenache rosé. It’s a pays d’oc, from near Alès in Provence, and is elegant and crisp with a well balanced body and a hint of gooseberry.
There’s something about the bottle that’s just really attractive, the bubblegum red label and the dusty pink foil making this look so great you won’t want to open and share it. But you should. the rosé sauvage, pinot noir, meaner and chardonnay brings together the flavours into the perfect meeting point between white and red wines. With the pinot noirs from Les Riceys, at the southern point of the Champagneregion, and the chardonnays from the Montagne de Reims, the colour is strikingly reddy, with an aroma of dark berries, with a very slightly acidic edge.
From the Languedoc to London, LGI Wines was created in 1999 and sits in the heart of the region, specialising in modern vinification techniques. And good for us they have, as the Richeviney Rose is a light and enjoyable drink, ideal for sipping on a long summer’s evening.
Ever suckers for a label, we loved this wine. And for more reason than the pretty packaging. Turkey Flat led the rosé revival in Southern Australia’s Barossa Valley and are well known as a good bet when it comes to rosés. Crisp and fruity, the grenache grape leads and we’re happy to follow. And to come back to the bottle, it really is a very pretty label…
Winner of a Decanter World Wine Awards Bronze Medal, this Provence rosé is a fruity combination of grenache, syrah and carignan grapes, with a bouquet of strawberry, garrigue (which is the low-growing vegetation on the limestone hills of the Mediterranean coast) and spice. Produced by Domaine du Vignaret in their vineyard directly between Nice and Marseilles, the wine is a perfect accompaniment to salads and seafood dishes.
Also worth checking out…
– Why spend a fortune when you could pop to Lidl? The budget supermarket stocks some great deals, not least Kamocsay Ákos 2018 pinot noir rosé. Easily the cheapest on our list, at £5.99, it’s Eastern European, from Hungary, nevertheless a refreshing and tasty dry rosé. Available from Lidl…